I once saw my daughter run a marathon, twenty-six miles of grueling pace and determination. At the seventeenth mile marker she became ill, but every mile marker spurred her on. Each pounding step reminded her that she ran for a reason. She could not physically see the end, but she ran the remaining nine miles because she knew its promise. Struggling toward that final goal, she crossed the finish line pushing with her last ounce of breath. She had run the race and finished the course.
What are your mile markers? What events mark growth and spur you on to the next level? Do you keep God’s promises spiritually in view though you endure suffering? If you are to successfully finish life’s race you must endure to the end and cross that finish line.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers,” James advised, “whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3 NIV). Suffering produces perseverance—the ability to go forward no matter what comes. Perseverance produces a person of moral character—one who allows the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be exemplified. Character produces hope. Hope does not disappoint, because the Holy Spirit daily pours the love and promise of Christ’s reward into our hearts.
My daughter did not just decide to run a marathon. She trained for many months. Week after week she disciplined herself in strength and purpose—her mind focused continually on the goal ahead. The message of Hebrews 12:1-3 reveals how you are to run your own race. You run it with perseverance. To complete the course it is absolutely necessary to fix your eyes on Jesus Christ. He is the author of your faith, and He alone knows how to complete it. You must spiritually envision the goal because Jesus wishes your faith to mature and be perfected. He is your example so that you do not lose heart. God only disciplines those He loves. Jesus stands on the sidelines and cheers you forward toward the finish encouraging you each step of the way with loving discipline.
Have you ever heard about a runner's high? It refers to a euphoric state of mind experienced by many runners during a long run. When the body is pushed to the limit, as in a marathon run, it begins to experience pain. To compensate for the pain the body produces endorphins. Not only do endorphins have a pain-killing effect, but they also produce a sense of well-being. The Lord wishes you to get to the place where the circumstances of life spur you on to greater heights, and pain brings a greater faith in His ability to handle life’s struggles. There is a peace that passes all understanding, but it is only found in giving each trial to Him. It is only found in your thankfulness for His provision. When you have discovered this euphoric peace you have found your runner’s high.
“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12 NIV). Strengthen what has been feeble and weak. Train with perseverance. Allow the circumstances of life to spur you onward—not destroy you. Exercise your faith, and reach for the goal of your promise. The race is meant to bring you through safely. The Lord cheers you on and waits with open arms.
© 2017 Lynn Lacher